40 Ways to care for your mental health

40-Ways-to-care-for-your-mental-health

As non-profits gear up for World Mental Health Day on October 10, now is the perfect time to consider how you can best take care of our own mental health. We all have our ups and down when it comes to our mental health, and this is often impacted by what’s going on in our lives and the world around us.

So how has your mental health been lately? Are you sailing along contentedly, or do you feel the weight of a thousand different expectations on your shoulders? Maybe you’re doing well for the most part, but you’ve sensed a shift in your mood since politics has taken over your social media? Or perhaps you feel isolated and lonely, and asking for help seems like a big step.

Wherever your mental health is at, this World Mental Health Day is your invitation to take stock of your wellbeing and have permission to care for it. This coming week, Australian charity Headspace is asking their supporters to answer the question: What puts you in a good headspace?

We’d love you to answer the same question. If you’re not sure, think about what makes you happy. When was the last time you felt most alive? And what helps you to relax and feel positive? You can find out more about Headspace’s Headspace Day campaign and fill out your own placard for social media here.

If you’re struggling to get started, here are 40 ways you can put yourself in a good headspace and care for your mental health.

  • Read a good book or watch a feel-good movie
  • Journal or colour in
  • Join a team sport
  • Go for a walk outside
  • Run or workout
  • Treat yourself to a delicious snack
  • Make a healthy (and yummy!) smoothie or juice
  • Go out for coffee
  • Take a ten minute break
  • Deactivate your social media
  • Catch up with a friend
  • Go to the beach
  • Go hiking
  • Turn off your phone
  • Try to bake something new
  • Try a new, healthy food
  • Go on a day trip
  • See a counsellor
  • Call a helpline or email them online
  • Write a letter to someone and never send it
  • Try a new hobby
  • Make a new friend
  • Go to a wildlife park
  • Ask someone to help you out
  • Take deep breaths
  • Meditate
  • Learn something new
  • Listen to music
  • Pat an animal
  • Book a holiday
  • Take a nap
  • Go to bed early
  • Cut back on alcohol and drugs
  • Learn about something new
  • Listen to a podcast
  • Read blogs online
  • Watch funny videos
  • Practice Mindfulness

Do you want to care for your mental health?  Would you like some support or guidance as you try these different strategies? Here’s what you need to do: contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.

Introducing When Hope Speaks

introducing-when-hope-speaks

Regular readers of Watersedge will recognise the name Jessica Morris. Aside from contributing to the blog, she also oversees the social media and editorial content on our website. She has been open and honest about her own struggles with mental illness, giving us an insight into her experiences of therapy, teen to adulthood transition, and moving away from home.

Today we are excited to share Jessica’s new book with you all. Titled When Hope Speaks, it is a memoir about her diagnosis with depression and an anxiety disorder. Using essays, letters, blog posts and poems, she unravels the story of her mental illness and how it shaped her from diagnosis as a 13 year old, to her life today as an international journalist.

Available on October 10—World Mental Health Day, this is an inspiring story reminding people who live with mental illness that they never walk the journey alone. Carers and loved ones will be encouraged, and professionals can use it as a tool to educate and support their clients.

You can read an excerpt from When Hope Speaks by visiting Jessica’s website. Available October 10 through Salvo Publishing, order your copy now at jessicamorris.net.

“I’m so proud of my friend Jessica. She continues to impress me, not only with her writing but with how she lives her life. You get to see both in this book—Jessica’s talent for telling stories and for living them as well. She does both with compassion, with honesty, and with grace.”

~ JAMIE TWORKOWSKI,
founder, TO WRITE LOVE ON HER ARMS
New York Times Best-selling Author, If You Feel Too Much

Locals are invited to attend the When Hope Speaks book launch this Saturday October 8. I will be representing WatersedgeCounselling on a mental health panel to follow a reading and Q & A by the author. Starting at 7pm at the Mule Shed Café at 64 Separation Street, North Geelong, entry is by donation to Hope Movement. Click here for more details.

Do struggle with depression or anxiety? Are you concerned about the mental health of a friend or loved one? Here’s what you need to do: contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary

Boy Meets Depression

World Mental Health Day Banner

Image of Kevin Breel via theoneproject.ca

 

What does it mean to meet depression? What does it look like, to have it take you by the hand and slowly infiltrate your life, until you forget what your existence was like before it was present?

This World Mental Health Day, we want to explore what it means to meet depression. Few people explain it so vividly as 21- year-old comedian Kevin Breel, in his book “Boy Meets Depression.”

Depression Quote

Beyond Blue tells us that Depression is the leading cause of disability, and that it is estimated 1 million Australian’s experience Depression every year. In Australia, 1 in 5 people will be affected by mental illness, yet 65% of people with a mental illness do not seek treatment (Black Dog Institute). Statistically, you know someone with depression, or perhaps you live with it yourself. In any case, it is common. And while we tend to sweep it under the rug, as it’s something we can’t visibly see- like a broken limb- we are incapacitated by it on a daily basis.

In “Boy Meets Depression” we are given a close up account of what this unwelcome and often unexpected guest (or permanent resident) looks like through the eyes of a teenager. We also see the warning signs and the scenarios that pre-empt it.

Family of Origin

Family Quote

Even as a child, Breel knew his family was unhealthy. His parents slept in different bedrooms and showed no love to each other, and his father, being severely depressed, constantly drank alcohol to numb his pain. His older sister was never home in an effort to escape the conflict. But 5-year-old Breel was unable to escape, so he simply came home to an empty house, living inside his own imagination to pass the time.

Every family of origin will look different, but a broken relationship between spouses and with one or both parents sets the stage for depression. This may appear early for children and adolescents, but for some adults it may occur later in life as they confront unresolved issues.

Social Environment

Bully Quote

There are few things harsher than the school environment. Breel found this first hand when he was the victim of perpetual bullying from a young age. There is no rhyme or reason to bullying, but an awareness of it in the schoolyard, work place or home, is key to understanding depression. Breel’s constant torment fed him lies about his lack of value and identity, and ultimately resulted in a misrepresentation of himself as he entered his teens and was diagnosed with severe depression.

Grief

Grief Quote

Grief over a loved one, a past relationship or an experience, can all play an instrumental role as Depression extends it’s hand towards us. After losing his best friend in a car accident at 12, Breel felt even more alone in the world and lived in a perpetual state of grief. He changed schools to escape the questions and concern that followed.

Masks

Mask quote

 When we are experiencing depression, we will often try to cloak this from the people around us. Breel’s insecurities were virtually invisible to the people around him as he threw himself into the role of the class clown and the comedian. His persona protected him from being fully known, while inside he hated himself. It was this mask that followed Breel into his darkest moments, as he penned a suicide note to his mother.

It was in this moment that things began to change for Breel. There is no easy ‘cure’ for Depression, and after deciding to literally stay alive, a long and difficult journey followed for Breel. It took time for him to open up and share his struggles with his mother, and countless therapy session to begin working through the depression that had nearly taken his life.

When we meet Depression, we become a shell of who we are. While it ultimately comes down to the individual to choose recovery, understanding these warning signs gives us the ability to ask the question, “Are you ok?” This opens the door for help, showing the people we care about that there is a way out. There is life beyond depression.

Recovery quote

Kevin Breel’s book ‘Boy Meet’s Depression’ is available on Amazon.

For more information on what it means to meet depression, watch Kevin’s TedX Talk ‘Confessions of a Depressed Comic’ here.

If you are struggling with Depression or thoughts of self harm or suicide, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

If you are struggling with feelings of sadness, despair, depression, severe anxiety or thoughts of suicide, it is important that you seek professional health assistance as soon as possible to help you recover. Your G.P. and/or a Professional Counsellor can give you the additional support you need. For a FREE 10 minute consultation as to how we can help you, ring Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434 331 243 or you can book an appointment with Colleen or Duncan by going to the orange button titled CLICK ONLINE NOW and follow the prompts.

Australia Counsellling mental health blogger